Timeform Breeders' Cup Preview: Best of the Americans
Timeform's Mark Milligan previews Saturday's Grade 1 action at the Breeders' Cup and picks out five horses to follow from the home team.
"...should strip much fitter for that outing, and rates the value selection in a Classic that has a very open look to it..."
Timeform on West Coast
Newspaperofrecord (Chad Brown) - Juvenile Fillies Turf, Friday (20:00 GMT)
Chad Brown has won the Juvenile Fillies Turf four times, including the last two years, and has strong claims of winning the race yet again with this exciting daughter of Lope de Vega. Unbeaten in two starts at Saratoga and Belmont, she was particularly impressive when winning the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes last time, coming home six and a half lengths clear of Varenka. Both her outings to date have come on officially yielding ground, and there is no reason to suggest she won't operate on something a bit softer, a big plus given the amount of rain that has fallen in Louisville over the last day or so. Another positive is Newspaperofrecord's early pace, which should put her in an ideal position from what looks a decent draw in stall six.
World of Trouble (Jason Servis) - Turf Sprint, Saturday (16:38 GMT)
This year's Turf Sprint doesn't look the strongest renewal, and is another grass race that may be won by the home team. World of Trouble has been a relative latecomer to the turf, having spent the first part of his career racing on dirt. Indeed, he showed plenty of ability on the main track over longer trips, but it is his reinvention as a turf sprinter on his last two starts that has really caught the eye, particularly when winning in a very fast time on his most recent outing in a stakes event at Belmont. With lots of early speed in his locker, World of Trouble should be able to get a good position despite a wide draw, and he is taken to continue his progression on this step up in class.
Catalina Cruiser (John Sadler) - Dirt Mile, Saturday (19:36 GMT)
Catalina Cruiser will be many people's idea of a Breeders' Cup banker in the Dirt Mile, and it would be hard to argue with those who side with him, despite a likely short price. Unbeaten in four starts to date, the versatile Catalina Cruiser has won from 6f to 8.5f, and has sauntered home by wide margins on his two most recent starts, both in Grade 2 company. Everything about John Sadler's charge screams Grade 1 performer, and it will be a big surprise if he isn't good enough to take the step up to the top level here. The one minor doubt is his trainer's record outside of Southern California, which isn't great, but it must be noted that he doesn't ship horses away from his own circuit too often, so the sample size is small.
Abel Tasman (Bob Baffert) - Distaff, Saturday (20:16 GMT)
Last years' runner-up has strong claims of going one better this time around, and has probably been underestimated a little in the market. A poor run last time, when she was found to be amiss, prompted UK bookmakers to push her out to as big as 5/1, though her price has contracted a little since then. However, she is still only second favourite, and should probably be at the head of the market on the balance of her form, which is marginally stronger than that of current favourite, the year-younger Monomoy Girl. A multiple Grade 1 winner, including twice this year, Abel Tasman's form is rock solid, and with a versatile running style, and the Bob Baffert/Mike Smith axis in her corner, she should take the world of beating at what looks a value price.
West Coast (Bob Baffert) - Classic, Saturday (21:44 GMT)
Given the level of his form, the high-class West Coast is in danger of becoming the forgotten horse in this year's Classic. Rejected by Mike Smith in favour of his younger stable companion McKinzie, John Velazquez comes in for the mount on last year's third-place finisher. West Coast's runner-up finish to Gun Runner in the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park in January is one of the best pieces of form on offer in here, and he should probably have come home from Meydan having won the Dubai World Cup on his next start, with Javier Castellano inexplicably handing the early lead to Christophe Soumillon Thunder Snow, thereby giving up the golden rail that had been prevalent throughout the meeting. Entitled to need his comeback run (after 182 days off) when second to Accelerate last time, West Coast should strip much fitter for that outing, and rates the value selection in a Classic that has a very open look to it.
Minimum Bet Guarantee
Betfair's 'minimum bet guarantee' on all Class 1 and 2 races in the UK and Ireland - which means all customers are able to bet to win a minimum of £500 - has been extended to cover all races at selected meetings this week. T&Cs apply.
Newspaperofrecord (Chad Brown) – Juvenile Fillies Turf, Friday (20:00 GMT)
World of Trouble (Jason Servis) – Turf Sprint, Saturday (16:38 GMT)
Catalina Cruiser (John Sadler) – Dirt Mile, Saturday (19:36 GMT)
Abel Tasman (Bob Baffert) – Distaff, Saturday (20:16 GMT)
West Coast (Bob Baffert) – Classic, Saturday (21:44 GMT)